Book summary: “At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, a three-volume collection of letters, provides a running account of an attempt to live an authentic life, as Franklin writes every month for seventeen years a personal letter to his The Moneychanger newsletter readers.” (back cover)
I was happy that I got to review a fiction book for me from the Schoolhouse Review Crew called At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, by Franklin Sanders.
This volume is a collection of letters or articles written in the 1990s to the early 2000s, approximately 17 years, and published in “The Moneychanger” newsletter. The family desired to change from living in the city fast lane to live on a self sustaining farm as Y2K approached. The farm is located in Dogwood Mudhole, a town, hence the name – At Home in Dogwood Mudhole.
The articles submitted to The Moneychanger are snippets of their life. The themes of faith, family, love of the land and living a simple lifestyle filter through. However, this is not a novel of sorts, or compiled like a historical non fiction story. This would be a good coffee table or bedside table volume. Perfect for those few minutes that you’d like to relax and read a quick story. I think this would be good for folks who already enjoy farming, or have gone through the Y2K preparation, or are preppers right now.
Through the stories we learn about escapee and fainting pigs (named Houdini and Princessa), follow their adventures as Civil War reenactors, the family’s dogs (and later chickens and pigs), Sanders adventures serving jail time after a run in with the IRS, and the family’s move to be self-sufficient in preparation for Y2K.
Although this book wasn’t quite suited for me, I found that I highlighted several sections, and reading back over them, I remember that there were quite a few gems. One just needs to weed through so many pig stories to get there.
“If you hear me say, “I’m too busy,” hang up or hit me in the head with a hammer. I have just as much to do as God knows I need. I will delight in my work all day.”
He speaks of “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – That we need to take pains to know and love those gone before, that the dead aren’t dead. I love history and feeling close to those who have lived before me.
He shares practical things like the recipe for Natural Fly Spray made out of natural ingredients. He also shares addresses and phone numbers of where to get the ingredients. I will not share the recipe here, but it is in the book.
One that I liked, and thought about is “I know farming is hard, ruthlessly hard, but what you might call hard, God called good when He made it.” This simple thought applies to so many things, besides farming. Ponder that.
He shares of his struggles of depression and the wisdom that he receives from his wife Susan. He is quite transparent. This volume is written from a man, I’d say mostly to men.
He also shares a company that sells the worlds best hams. I’m tempted to look up the company and try it.
So this eclectic volume, a compilation of stories, will bless the reader. It was not quite my cup of tea, I’d probably not be finished with it, were it not for the review, but I think it would make a great Christmas gift for the folks in your life that enjoy reading about families working to be self sufficient farmers.
At Home In Dogwood Mudhole – Volume One: Nothing That Eats
Paperback – $22.95
Digital – $16.95